Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture and other partner organizations have heightened ground and aerial control measures against locusts. The locusts have been infesting and invading different parts of Ethiopia this year. Before the control measure started in June, the locusts had spread to four other regions in Ethiopia and were threatening the country’s food security.
All the regional states of Ethiopia have since witnessed locust invasions of different extents except in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. Additionally, the swarms of locusts were sighted in several East African countries where they devoured crops. Specialists dubbed the locust infestation in East Africa, the biggest invasion in 60 years.
Ministry of Agriculture Prevention Measures
Due to the invasion of locusts threatening Ethiopia’s food security, the Ministry of Agriculture has been undertaking prevention and control measures. The FAO and the DLCO-EA have been Ethiopia’s main partners in the efforts to try to control the desert locusts. Two spraying planes crashed in early October, hence slowing down the steps to stop the swarms.
When spraying planes go out on spraying missions, they become covered in greasy locust guts so much that pilots can’t see through their windshield. The planes end up crashing, and this pushes the fight against the locusts behind. Oumer Hussein, Ethiopia’s Agriculture Minister, said that more spray planes would be deployed to fight huge locust swarms. According to the minister, the Ministry of Agriculture had deployed six spraying aircraft already and three surveillance helicopters aerially. The minister added that the Ministry was in the process of identifying farmers most affected by the locust’s invasions to offer their support.
Additionally, he said that the Ministry had developed better prevention and control operations to take care of the locusts. Furthermore, improvement of information sharing and control operations against the desert locusts was achieved by the Ministry. The enhancement of information sharing and control operations was achieved by using surveillance helicopters and spraying aircrafts.
Enhancement of Information Systems
Additionally, the enhancement was achieved due to the Ministry receiving sufficient information from the nationwide structures. The data was now flowing smoothly due to their creation of awareness through training on the locust. Also, timely information from international partners such as FAO and the Desert Control Organization for East Africa(DLCO-EA) could reach them faster.
Professionals pointed out that Ethiopia’s information-sharing system now had many technologies used to share real-time information through electronics from anyplace in the country. Additionally, the experts pointed out that the information systems were now stronger as they adopted various technologies.
The shift in wind direction towards the Indian Ocean is also greatly assisting Ethiopia in getting rid of the locusts. The change has reduced the number of swarms entering Ethiopia from Somalia and other similar directions. Ethiopia’s Agriculture Minister stated that the controlling operations were now well enhanced. Due to these improvements, he said the Ministry would continue to reduce Ethiopia’s locust invasions effectively till there no swarms left. According to him, the invasions in Kenya decreased due to the successful controlling operations undertaken in Kenya.